Prepping for a bikini competition or wanting a nice shaped butt for summer? Looking to increase glute and hamstring activation for your lunges, squats and deadlifts? Or maybe you’re looking to reduce your low back pain and gain more glute strength? Hip thrusts/hip lifts/glute bridges are gaining a lot of attention in the fitness world right now. It is great for building glute strength, stability of your knees, & to shape a perfectly round butt!
Strong glutes can help reduce low back pain and improve the body mechanics of your hips, knees, & ankles. Many of us have sedentary desk jobs that do nothing for our butts… something we like to call gluteal amnesia. Through a process called adaptive shortening, our iliopsoas, hip flexor muscles, shorten over time causing lumbar stress. Hip lifts can be used as a spine stabilizer and a core exercise, as they help to extend your legs releasing tension off your tight hip flexors. In addition, they are a great way to target your glutes and hamstrings, if you actively squeeze your cheeks together at the top of the lift (or what we like to say: “Crack the Walnut!” or “Pinch the Penny”).
Starting off with a body weight glute bridge is a great place to start building your glute strength, while opening your chronically short hip flexors.
There are many ways to perform a glute bridge. Below are several variations you may implement into your training regimen. We recommend starting with body weight, then advancing to loaded or more advance positions.
Performing a sound, bodyweight glute bridge is an essential movement pattern most of us should all do, daily in fact for hip/lumbar health. Perfect this movement first, and ensure you can feel your glutes and hamstrings engage before moving forward to the variations below.
Using other tools, such as a band just above your knees while pushing outward help keep your knees tracking properly, while increasing glute activation. Keep tension in the band when throughout the entire range of motion.
(From the Floor) – good for lumbar stability.
Good for increased glute activation.
(From the Floor) – increasing load/weight.
(From the Floor) – good for unilateral strength..
(On a Bench) – increases range of motion.
(On a Bench) – increased range of motion and unilateral strength.
Good for increasing load.
Good for adductor and multiplanar glute strength.
Note: Using a pad or towel while using the barbell for glute bridge helps ease the discomfort of resting the bar on your hips.
Don’t forget to TUCK and SQUEEZE! Depending on what your goals are, try starting with 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions for hypertrophy. You may choose to implement on leg days, add to your push routine, or even with full body/core workouts. Focus on quality and time under tension, over increasing weight and power.